Exactly what happened as Elliot Embleton makes his return in Sunderland U23's stunning comeback victory against Fulham

Sunderland under-23s came from 3-1 down to claim a 5-3 victory against Fulham in their latest Premier League 2 outing.

Monday, 26th October 2020, 2:58 pm

Having looked dead and buried before the break, the Black Cats completed a stunning turnaround to claim their second Premier League 2 victory of the term.

Here’s how the action unfolded and the key talking points that emerged:

The team selection

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Elliot Embleton

On his return to the side, Embleton lined-up alongside Dan Neil just behind Benji Kimpioka.

Josh Hawkes and Sam Wilding played in the centre of the park with Cieran Dunne on the left flank and Stephen Wearne on the right.

The back three consisted of Oliver Younger, Patrick Almond and a trialist – understood to be former Wolves defender Connor Johnson.

Anthony Patterson started between the sticks, while Jack Diamond wasn’t included – perhaps indicating that he could form part of the first-team squad that travel to Rochdale on Tuesday evening.

For Embleton, it was a first taste of action this campaign after his injury at Gateshead in the Black Cats’ first pre-season friendly.

The action

Chasing a second win of the season, the Black Cats began brightly with Wearne seeing a shot held by Fulham stopper Luca Ashby-Hammond.

It would be Sunderland who broke the deadlock, though as Embleton threaded in Hawkes who fired beneath the ‘keeper on 16 minutes.

But the lead would quickly be eliminated, with Tyrese Francois restoring parity just two minutes after the opener – before Ryan De Havilland handed Fulham the lead on 24 minutes.

De Havilland would grab his second, and Fulham’s third, just after the half hour mark – only for Benji Kimpioka to reduce the deficit to one just before the break.

The Swede netted his third goal since returning to the club as he pounced on a loose ball and drove towards goal before slotting home.

After the break, Anthony Patterson had to make a smart save to deny Jean-Pierre Tiehi after the break as the Black Cats soaked up some pressure from the visitors.

But having kept the deficit at one, the Black Cats drew level as Almond fired home from close range.

And Sunderland’s remarkable turnaround would be completed on 79 minutes as Hawkes converted from the spot. It was the former Hartlepool United man’s third of the season after he also netted in the comfortable win at Newcastle United.

Elliott Dickman’s side weren’t done there, either. Kimpioka added his second of the game and fourth of the season with eight minutes left on the clock to top-off a fine triumph.

The return

Other than the result, the return of Embleton was the key positive to emerge from the clash.

The 21-year-old completed 45 minutes in what was his first outing since August 22, with the attacking midfielder replaced by Mitch Curry at the break.

It was a promising showing from the youngster who will have benefited greatly from the game time – while also racking-up that assist for Hawkes’ opener.

Expect the England youth international to feature regularly for the under-23 side in the coming weeks as he continues to work towards a first-team return.

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